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Royal Correspondence: 44


LETTER OF ANTIOCHOS III TO AN OFFICIAL CONCERNING THE CHIEF PRIEST AT DAPHNE

Original text:   IGLS_3.2.992   ( OGIS_244 )
Date:     189 B.C.

Antiochos was no doubt genuinely concerned to maintain the proper worship of Apollo and Artemis at Daphne, but his letter makes it clear that a chief-priest like this would often be selected from courtiers and administrators, who could be relied on to be loyal to the king. A similar appointment was that of Nikanor as chief-priest of the regions to the west of the Taurus mountains ( Ma_4 - reproduced in Documents on the Maccabees, no.6 ); see B.Dignas, "Economy of the Sacred in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor", pp.46-50 ( Google Books ).


... as he had been in honour and trust with our brother and has zealously given many great demonstrations of his attitude toward us and our state, and as he has spared neither his life nor his property in our interest, but has adequately performed everything entrusted to him and in general conducts himself consistently with his past services on behalf of our state, we wished to keep him still associated with us in our affairs. He often, however, called our attention to the bodily infirmity which had come to him from his incessant activities, and asked us to allow him to retire in order that he might spend the rest of his life in uninterrupted good health; we have accordingly yielded, wishing to show in this also the attitude we have toward him. We shall take care that in the future he will receive all that pertains to honour and glory, for as the chief-priesthood of Apollo and Artemis Daittai and of the other sanctuaries whose precincts are in Daphne requires a man devoted to us and competent to fill it suitably in view of the interest both our ancestors and ourselves have had in the place and of our reverence toward the gods, we have appointed him chief-priest of these sanctuaries in the conviction that their administration will be carried on properly by him. Give orders to mention his name as chief-priest in legal documents and to honour him in a manner corresponding to the importance of our decision; if he summons anyone to perform any of the regular duties of the sanctuaries, for all to assist him, both those who may be connected with the sanctuaries and all others who should properly obey him make clear that (we) have given orders to obey him in all that he asks by letter or by command. Give orders, also, to inscribe a copy of the letter on steles and to set them up where they may best be seen. Year 124, Dios 14.

letter 45


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